Rumor: R-Rated ‘Venom’ Will Kickstart Sony‘s New Marvel Universe

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A couple of significant things happened in Sony’s corner of the Marvel universe last week: The studio set a 2018 release date for a standalone Venom movie and hired a new screenwriter for its long-developing female-centric Spider-Man spinoff — two developments which seem to indicate that Sony is once again preparing to try their hand at building a Spidey cinematic universe. According to a new report, that’s exactly what’s happening, but things may be decidedly darker this time around.

Just last week, Sony set an October 5, 2018 release date for the Venom standalone movie, and hired Thor: Ragnarok scribe Chris Yost to draft a new screenplay for a spinoff featuring Black Cat and Silver Sable. Between these recent updates and ongoing developments with the animated Spider-Man film, it doesn’t take any fancy detective work to deduce that Sony is gearing up to expand their Marvel universe.

So this report from Collider, in which their source(s) confirm those suspicions, isn’t exactly revelatory — though it does feature a couple of interesting details: According to their source(s), Venom will be the first film in Sony’s extended Spidey universe, and it’s being developed as a modestly-budgeted R-rated project. If true, it would appear that Sony has learned a few things since the infamous email hack of 2014, specifically from Fox, as the recent success of Deadpool and Logan (both R-rated) proves that studios can — and should — make standalone comic-book films that aren’t beholden to their flagship or parent franchises. (As Deadpool shows, those films can even lead to starting little sub-franchises of their own.)

Although Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is free to swing over to the MCU (and Marvel has generously loaned Iron Man to Sony for this summer’s Homecoming), the deal between the studios doesn’t extend to Sony’s other Marvel characters — like Venom or Black Cat. These films would be entirely Sony, with no participation from or collaboration with Marvel, for better or worse. Hopefully it’s for better this time around.

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